Jarell Quansah has made quite the statement at Liverpool this season. The 21-year-old centre-back has been at the Merseyside club since the age of five and has risen through the ranks having captained the under-18 side and the UEFA Youth Team in recent years.
The big break for the England under-21 international occurred just a few months ago when Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp trusted him to make his senior debut for the club in Liverpool's 2-1 win over Newcastle when he came on for Joël Matip.
In the 15 minutes of action he had, it was an assured and calm performance from a novice who'd looked like he played at the top level all his life. Then, Liverpool fans began considering if Jarell Quansah was the future of Liverpool's defence.
He's a Young Virgil van Dijk
With injuries and suspensions hampering Liverpool's core centre-backs, the door had opened for Quansah to have an opportunity in the first team and boy did he take it. He made his first Premier League start in Liverpool's 3-1 away win against Wolves in September and put in a composed performance in what was a makeshift defence.
Klopp specifically singled out the youngster for his showing as he said: “I have to say he did really well. He was good. In possession as well he was calm. It was like we had just met in the car park before the game with the organisation in the first half. But he played really well.
“In such a disorganised team like we were in the first half, he was the one who looked alright. It was a statement and he is really happy at the moment.”
Quansah's style of play is similar to van Dijk's with both possessing ball-playing ability and pace off the ball. There's no doubt he looks up to the Liverpool captain and has plans to succeed the 32-year-old when his time at the club ends.
It's Too Soon To Tell
While his talent is obvious, he's played just 17 games in all competitions in his Liverpool career. It's just not a big enough sample size to begin conversations on whether he has the potential to be a part of Liverpool's defence for the next 10-15 years.
In my opinion, Quansah is destined for the top and with Matip likely leaving Liverpool this season, a spot in defence has opened up for the young Englishman and it's one I believe he'll take.
LFC Globe Verdict
Few young defenders in world football can enter a top team and immediately look as if they've been a professional for a decade.
However, that's something Jarell Quansah has done. Wise beyond his years on the football pitch, the Englishman simply belongs to play at the top level and for a top club like Liverpool.
The fact that Jürgen Klopp feels comfortable starting him in Premier League games is a major vote of confidence and despite the German leaving Liverpool at the end of the season, the next manager of Liverpool has an extremely top talent on their hands.